Introduction to Legal Issues in Collections Management

What legal and ethical issues do we need to worry about when managing collections? Why is Nazi-era art a concern? What does NAGPRA regulate? What is CITES? How can we get rid of deaccessioned objects?

This Legal Issues Webinar Series is concerned with the legal and ethical aspects of managing collections. This, the first webinar of the series, will provide an introduction to the series and an overview of US and international laws and regulations that affect the acquisition, import, export, ownership, possession, and exhibition of objects and specimens, including wildlife laws and regulations that may affect artifacts or art objects. The second webinar (April 19) in the series will be concerned with ethical issues in collections management. The third webinar (May 17) will address the disposal of deaccessioned objects.


simmons-portraitJohn Simmons has been a zoo keeper, collections manager, and director of a museum studies program. He is the recipient of the AAM Superior Voluntary Service Award (2001), the University of Kansas Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Mentoring of Graduate Students (2005), the Carolyn L. Rose Award for Outstanding Commitment to Natural History Collections and Management (2011), and the Dudley-Wilkinson Award of Distinction from the Registrars Committee of the American Alliance of Museums (2016). His books include Things Great and Small: Collections Management Policies (2006); Foundations of Museum Studies: Evolving Systems of Knowledge (2014); and Museums: A History (2016). Simmons currently works as a museum consultant, serves as Adjunct Curator of Collections at the Earth and Mineral Sciences Museum & Art Gallery at Penn State University, and is adjunct museum studies instructor at Kent State University.

Recorded: Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Duration: 1 Hour 26 minutes

The Legal Issues Webinar Series is a collaboration between Connecting to Collections Care and ARCS, the Association of Registrars and Collections Specialists.



Introduction to Legal Issues PowerPoint Slides


Legal Issues Overview Handout


Old Loan Abandoned Property Disposition (ARCS)


CopyrightX – an annual course offered by Harvard on Copyright law